Organic is all the rage these days. Organic food, organic clothing, organic coffee. I make a point of buying organic milk and chicken. I try for organic veggies too.
Perhaps it's because of the popularity of organic farming that I have been applying the word "organic" to other aspects of my life as well. For example, I was thinking yesterday that I want my writing career to develop organically. Naturally. And at first, I thought that I should "just write" and not think about who was reading it or how to get more people to read it, that I should just wait for connections to come my way, wait to be discovered, so to speak. But then I realized that if farmers left their crops in the ground without any cultivation, they wouldn't grow. Even if tended without chemicals, they must be tended. Natural growth, and organic growth, in other words, are not the same thing. Left to nature, the crops would get choked, or eaten, or wither up.
I think about raising my children. To raise them naturally would be to allow their natural instincts to drive their decisions. Which means Penny would hit William. A lot. Which means William would soon enough sit on her and pound her. Which means they would harm each other and themselves, over and over again. Natural parenting. Not a good idea.
On the other hand, when it comes to writing or parenting or food, manipulation is not a good idea either. It's tempting. If I manipulate the market for potential readers (by writing what I think people want to hear, whether or not it is true, for instance) or if I manipulate my children ("If you stop hitting William, you'll get a special treat") or when farmers manipulate food with pesticides and other chemicals, the rewards on the front end are great. But the long term harm is obvious as well.
So I don't want natural growth, and I don't want manipulative growth. I'm going organic. Thoughtful cultivation of an audience for writing. Thoughtful cultivation of my children's attitudes and interactions. Thoughtful cultivation of this life.